Re-imagining Australian citizenship: Australian values and allegiance to Australia

Maria Chisari


This paper explores how Australian values have been incorporated in the recently enacted Allegiance to Australia Act. It focuses on the discursive shifts that have refigured the concept of Australian values as a way of defining disloyalty and treason among particular migrants who threaten the Australian way of life. Originally popularised by the Howard government as a way to define Australian identity and replace multiculturalism, Australian values are today presented in legislation as a mechanism that can combat youth radicalisation and counter terrorist activities. Through a genealogy of how the debate around Australian values has evolved over the past decade, this paper suggests that such notions are not fixed. An exploration of the transformation of Australian values culminating in their inclusion in allegiance legislation allows us to become conscious of the myths that surround the notion of a unique national Australian identity. It highlights the need to ‘denaturalise’ these values so that they can be reimagined in other ways which are inclusive of all citizens.


Australian values; allegiance; Australian citizenship

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